how to reclaim rest

hydrangeas in abundance in my neighbours’ gardens

Living a less-distracted life : admit that you’re tired and reclaim rest.

I know, I know; motherhood and rest rarely go together. We are a weary bunch, aren’t we, running to and fro and round in circles. Despite our exhaustion we just keep going because we have to.

Perhaps it’s more pronounced at this time of year as we take a sharp inhalation and deal with the plethora of to-dos that accompany the festive season. My diary is quickly filling up with deadlines, the end of school term is fast approaching and I am completely disorganised in regards to Christmas. Yes, it’s overwhelming and if I’m honest, there’s just no time for early nights and afternoon kips right now.

Che is tired, too. I kept him home from school on Friday for a rest day and he lulled about reading books, watching a movie and building lego. There was a part of me that wished I could do the same thing; ignore all the necessary chores and emails and just lie in bed; rejuvenating and being kind. I know I need it but I can’t see it happening anytime soon. And so I started thinking about quick rests; little things I can do that will restore and revive. I mention them in my yoga classes all the time and yet applying them to my every day takes a little more discipline. But you know what, they work, and sometimes they’re more beneficial that a deep day sleep (I usually wake up groggy and cranky and that is never good!).

Next time you’re feeling weary, try one of the following:

  • drink water. It’s usually at around 4:30 that I experience a slump and unfortunately it coincides with dinner prep. So every evening I stand at the kitchen window and drink a big glass of water. Within ten minutes I have the energy to get through the dinner, bath, bed routine.
  • get outside. I’ve taken to lying on the trampoline and purposefully taking a few deep, nourishing breaths. I then let out loud sighs (much to the family’s delight). Fresh air – always good.
  • lie on your bed with your feet together and your knees out wide. This position is called supta budda konasana or reclining butterfly pose. If you feel that it stretches your groin too much just place a pillow or rolled blanket under your upper thighs. In this position become aware of your breath and focus on your exhalation for a few moments – you’ll notice you start to grow heavy and soft and relaxed. Then, count your breath backwards from 27. “I am breathing in 27, I am breathing out 27, I am breathing in 26…” When you get to 0 start to awaken your body by wriggling your fingers and toes. Get up slowly and carry on with your day. This is also a great practice to do with older children. First, choose an item to place on the belly – a feather, a small teddy, a paper boat – and then encourage them to watch and feel the feather/teddy/boat rise and fall with the rhythm of the breath.
  • close your eyes whilst breastfeeding. I understand this isn’t always possible if you’ve got more than one child but when breastfeeding my two I made a point of lying down to feed at least once a day. I’d put my phone away, get really comfortable and close my eyes. Sometimes I would sleep, sometimes five minutes of shut-eye was enough.
So: recognise your exhaustion and take five minutes rest. Consider it self-care.
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Showing 16 comments
  • G

    You know what, I just read this at the end of my day at work and yawned twice through it – so perfectly timed. I'm going to get outside – off to walk home now! x

  • Samantha Heather

    Thanks for sharing this Jodi. I just wrote about how busy my weekend was and how I too need to learn how to rest and rejuvenate more in my day.

    Fresh air is so important. I find that just 5 minutes outside with no distraction does so much for my day. Though I need to remember to keep up with it and not fall back into my busy, distracted life. Easier said than done unfortunately.


    Water and fresh air. It seems odd that we live a life so full on that we require to be reminded to breath and drink water. Two very basic things. Thank you, Jodi!

  • jody

    A timely reminder, thanks Jodi. x

  • Lissa Snapp

    All wonderful daily practices! I never truly realized this feeling of exhaustion existed. People always told me having a little one was so much work but I never really understood until Owynn was born. I yearn for the night when I can sleep a solid 8 hours. It is such a special experience but all my taking care of self has gone out the window. One day I know a balanced routine will come into place. But just taking a few moments each day alone is so key to preserving my energy and happiness. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Jodi

      Be gentle on yourself, Lissa. Know that your experience is a shared one; every mother wholeheartedly understands! The first year of motherhood is so very hard and yes, that exhaustion is like nothing else. You will sleep again and in a few months time you'll feel the fog lifting and it will all get easier. Much love x

  • Jennie

    Just reading this was relaxing!
    The drinking water at a set time, is a great idea. I really need to remember that.
    (as well as stretch and breath too!)x

  • lili nfolks

    I really LOVE your posts on practicing simplicity. I just need rest. It is like you could see in my brain and body 🙂

  • Lucy W

    Great techniques Jodi thankyou! I also like the way you suggested a way to do some relaxation with children. My firstborn is three and a half and can get a bit anxious and overwhelmed so I'd love any posts about yoga or relaxation techniques for children.

    • Jodi

      I've just been doing some online Christmas shopping and came across this book - – I used to work in bookstores and this series of books were really popular for children who worry, have nightmares etc. You could easily read him one of these stories in the afternoon…get him to lie down and ask him to shake his arms and legs to get rid of all the tension. Make it extra special by lighting a candle that he can then blow out afterwards. I'll think about a few other things I can include in a post x

  • sian

    thanks for the tips, will try the reclining butterfly pose, sounds good. to give my self a rest i try to do as little housework as possible, just enough to stop the place becoming a bio-hazard. my season tip for giving yourself more rest time is to cancel christmas, only joking! last year i emailed all my friends / mamas of my kids' friends and asked if they would mind if we didn't buy christmas gifts for kiddos. saved a lot of cash and stress and the kids didn't notice, they get so many gifts from family anyway. x

  • Little House Lea

    Great post. Needed to hear these tips and will be putting them into practise, especially the reclining butterfly pose and the counting – I often want to relax but have no idea how to, now I do.

  • Iliska Dreams

    Exhaustion can permeate your bones, you carry it around like a burden on your back. It alters your personality and changes how you act in situations. Of to try the butterfly pose now.

  • Sara

    Thank you for sharing these techniques. I like the five minutes of shut eye while breastfeeding. Our girl requires me to stay with her for naps…or there are none…and I so often get on my phone once she is in a deep sleep. I'm going to make it a point to close my lids from time to time and see what a difference that makes.

  • Bella Mills

    I AM exhausted. I hadn't the faintest idea how sore my shoulders and neck were until I slowly arched my back, titled my head slowly and took slow, deliberate breaths. Before I sleep, I will practice supta buddha konasana.
    Bella xx

  • Rachel Weaver

    I know this is an old post but I'm really enjoying going through your space and gleaning ideas to help make this year as happy, healthy and peaceful as possible.

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